The day after Thanksgiving has dawned bright and beautiful. For the third time in my life I did not spend Thanksgiving Day with family and even though I did pass a delightful afternoon with the families of two colleagues, I still felt a little bit empty. For so many years Thanksgiving Day has meant lots of family--upwards of 30 people from four very connected families have gathered together to ask the Lord's continued blessing. And of course they still gathered...but without so many this year. The two oldest members of the group and one other are no longer with us, having passed away within the past year (one most recently a week ago). My youngest sister and her family, my oldest niece and her new husband, and a nephew were not there, nor were several others. I missed them all. And I imagine those who were there realized the absences keenly, too.
And yet. There is much to be grateful for. My aforementioned close-knit family. My colleagues and friends who make each work day a pleasure. My students--past and present--who keep me going day after day. My church family that is loving and nurturing. My cats, faithful companions for the past decade. My friends--near and far. The list could go on an on. I am truly blessed. And for the actual Day of Thanks, even though I was not home with family, it was enough to be with my work family, with people who love me enough to count me family, and with the promise of being home soon for Christmas.